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When you can’t find the type of food you’re looking for, open a restaurant! That’s what Yunus Arslan did in April 2021. After Yunus immigrated to the Bay Area in 2013, he craved authentic Turkish street food from his home in Gaziantep, the gastronomy capital of Turkey. To his surprise, traditional Turkish dishes like döner and kofte, so common across Europe, were much harder to find in California. To eat the food he grew up with and loved, Yunus needed to make it himself, so he opened a restaurant of his own to serve his favorite flavors to the community of Santa Cruz. Yunus’ wife, Marissa (a fourth-generation Santa Cruzian), shares his passion and together they operate Arslans Turkish Street Food, serving warm and soul-filled dishes from his home. 


What is Turkish Street Food? 

Turkish street food and the food at Arslans is healthy, delicious, and unique. Although there are some similarities to Greek food, Turkish food is distinct. What sets it apart are herbs and spices like sumac, mint, and fresh Italian parsley, as well as ingredients like bulgur, red lentils, and a special fat rice called Baldo. The main attraction, Döner Kebab, is the true OG of vertical cone cooking, dating back to the 16th-century Ottoman Empire. It’s extremely popular all over Europe, as common as a hamburger in the United States. The meat is marinated in traditional Turkish flavors, then slow-roasted and sliced from a vertical rotisserie, resulting in a mouthwatering and savory dish. Arslans also offers vegan and vegetarian options in the form of wraps, plates, salads, soups, and desserts. 

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